Peep presents Celestial Cherry, a site-specific installation by New York City-based artist Braxton Congrove. Through sculpture and installation elements, the artist employs the trappings of faux luxury to execute a playful, yet nostalgic ethereal staging.
Building from Congrove’s ongoing representations of the feminine and youthful sentimentality Celestial Cherry takes on a satirical expression of ornamentation. Working from sources of consumer culture, theatrical presentations, and DIY aesthetics, Congrove intersects popular and historical representations of opulent decor.
Softening the gallery’s industrial and compact structure, she transforms the venue into a uniquely innocent diorama. Upon entering the exhibition, the viewer is placed directly within the artist’s theatrical set: a constellation of star-shaped seats surrounding the central chandelier. A celestial congregation, painted in glow in the dark green tones, the sculptural seating enacts the arrangements of gathering around altars, symbols, and or relics of idolization.
The exhibition’s focal piece, an intricate multicolored, multilayered chandelier radiates within Peep’s space. Made of cast resin, gradating colors, and occasionally flecks of glitter, the glass-like material casts a translucent glow from its singular light source. Emulating ornate Renaissance interiors, the chandelier’s chains drip with a series of cherry, butterfly, strawberry, banana, and star-shaped charms. A celebration of the beauty in the cheap consumerism of acrylic nail charms, jelly shoes, and Haribo gummies, Celestial Cherry pulls from nostalgia and the heavens, swaddling its viewer in a blanket of escapism.
Statement written by curator Julia Greenway
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Braxton Congrove (b. 1991, Richmond, VA) is a Brooklyn-based installation artist who builds immersive sculptural worlds. She received her BFA from James Madison University and attended the Virginia Commonwealth University Summer Studio Program. She has presented solo exhibitions at Random Access Gallery (Syracuse University, NY), Valet (Richmond, VA), and Arlington Arts Center (Arlington, VA). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at ADA Gallery (Richmond, VA), DISJECTA (Portland, OR), and Governor’s Island (New York, NY), among others. Residencies include Ox-Bow, Bread and Puppet Theater, c3:Initiative, and Vermont Studio Center. Braxton has an upcoming solo exhibition at Proto Gomez in New York this spring.